With South African teams competing in three World Cups in three major sporting codes, June-July will be an exciting time for sport lovers. Banyana Banyana will be competing in their first FIFA Women’s World Cup from 8 June, and the Proteas cricket and netball players will both be in action in England in their respective sporting codes’ World Cups. While this will, no doubt, generate public excitement, especially with the Rugby World Cup looming in September the big question will be if retailers and suppliers will benefit from the World Cup fever.
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Bets could be on whether women’s soccer will get a boost from South Africa’s bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. By the middle of next year we’ll know if South Africa beat the eight other countries competing for the honour, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Japan and New Zealand.
Before that, Banyana Banyana will face even more stiff competition in the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France in June and July this year. They are currently ranked #49 of the 155 teams in the latest FIFA rankings for women, and will have to compete against Germany #2, Spain #13 and China #16 in the group stage. But, will this generate enough interest to warrant replica sales from Nike?
On Sunday Banyana Banyana drew their final send-off friendly match against #53 seeded Jamaica 1-1 – failing to log any wins in their preparation friendly matches. But, they did manage a goalless draw against Sweden (#9) and drew 2-2 against Finland (#32), but subsequently lost against Finland, Netherlands (#8), North Korea #11 and Czech Republic #29. Therefore, their progress to the knock-out stages will be a bit of a miracle.
Can the Proteas break the Cricket World Cup jinx this year? The tournament hosted by England and Wales follows a new format without the usual group stages. Each of the participating top 10 teams play the other nine teams, and the top four teams will progress to a knockout stage of semi-finals (on 9 July) and a final (14 July).
South Africa, #4 on the ICC ODI rankings, will have less pressure on them to win than in previous World Cup’s. Their campaign starts on 30 May against top ranked England, followed by Bangladesh (#7) on 2 June, India (#2) on 5 June, West Indies (#9) on 10 June, etc.
With four South Africans currently in the ICCs ODI Top 5 rankings, one can expect plenty of cricket interest during June and until the Proteas meet Australia (#5) on July 6 … and hopefully progress further. Batsmen Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis are ranked #4 and #5 respectively, while Imran Tahir (#4) and Kagiso Rabada (#5) feature in the top bowling rankings.
Therefore, about six weeks to sell the ODI replica from New Balance.
The Spar Protea netball team has a very good chance of progressing to at least the second stage of the Netball World Cup played in Liverpool, England, from 12-21 July – which will be good news for their new kit sponsor, PUMA SA, who will for the first time make netball replica and supporters’ wear available.
The International Netball Federation has developed a new World Cup format for 2019, which will see teams compete in three stages: the Preliminaries Stage One from 12-14 July, the Preliminaries Stage Two from 15-18 July and the Play-offs and Placings matches from 19-21 July.
In their Group C matches the Proteas (#5) will face stiff opposition in their match against Jamaica (#3) on July 14, but they should start the tournament more favourably against Trinidad & Tobago (#10) on July 12, followed by Fiji (#14) the next day.
After their good performances against Australia (#1), England (#2) and New Zealand (#4) in the Quad series in January this year, it is not unreasonable to expect to see the Proteas in action in the final play-offs from 19-21 July.
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